Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


Anna Von Mertens at Boston Center for the Arts

18 Apr 2013


Roman Empire 228-345 AD (East), 2012, hand-stitched cotton, 71″ x 53″

Ballroom alumna Anna Von Mertens‘ solo exhibition Gold! And Other Fallen Empires opens this Friday at the Boston Center for the Arts, and she writes with word of myriad Marfa connections:

“First off, the title gets its spark from the Gold Rush work exhibited as part of Data Deluge and which Cat Clifford has generously agreed to loan for the exhibition. The Ballroom Marfa diptych will be the first piece viewers see as they enter BCA.

In the main gallery is my latest series Migrations, Invasions, Plagues and Empires which also has a Ballroom connection: when I first started researching ideas for my Ballroom commission I was reading about Texas drought cycles and came across several studies linking climate change and the fall of empires through the study of tree rings. While I was hoping to create a piece in time for Data Deluge, I had to adapt to the timeline of the researchers who were generously collaborating with me. So a year later the series finally exists, and all thanks to Ballroom.”

Anna Von Mertens
Gold! And Other Fallen Empires
April 19-June 16, 2013

Opening Reception
Friday, April 19, 6-8 pm

Artist Talk with Guest Curator Kirsten Swenson
Saturday, May 11, 4 pm

On view for the first time is Migrations, Invasions, Plagues and Empires, a series of large scale black-and-white quilted panels whose stitch patterns of historic tree ring cross-sections are derived from studies linking climate variability and periods of human instability. Working for the last two years with international dendrochronologists, Von Mertens culled images from their archives. The events represented in the series–the Fall of the Roman Empire, the Aztec Conquest, the Black Death, and Anasazi migration in the 12th century–correlate to periods of drought recorded by the tree rings. The tree rings (and hence the tree) become a stand-in for empire while being, as W.H. Auden puts it in his poem The Fall of Rome, “altogether elsewhere.”

This survey exhibition will also include a 2012 commission for Ballroom Marfa as well as a selection of aura interpretations of iconic paintings from Von Mertens’ 2009 series Portraits.

Additional images and project statement for Migrations, Invasions, Plagues and Empires can be seen here:

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